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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Rivers of Living Water

by Susan Fox
On Monday, Dec. 8, 2008, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, Dong Yun Yoon, age 37, lost his wife, his mother-in-law and two young daughters, ages 2 months and 15 months, when a military jet crashed into his house in San Diego, killing all four people.
Instead of railing again God or blaming the pilot who safely ejected, the Korean immigrant encouraged everyone to pray for the pilot so he would not “suffer from this accident.”
The man lost his entire family, but his only question to reporters was how should he go on with life after this terrible loss? “Tell me how to do it,” he said. May God give him the strength. He certainly showed us how to live as a Christian. Mr. Yoon is a Methodist – very familiar with the “Our Father.” He not only knows the words, but he also lives them. “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” And in his great moment of forgiveness and grief, Mr. Yoon saved his own soul, and probably many others.
St. Maria Faustina Kowalska, known as God’s Secretary of Divine Mercy, was told by Our Lord that God’s greatest attribute is His Mercy. Perhaps it is this attribute that is the hardest for many of us to understand and imitate, but Mr. Yoon undoubtedly showed us the way.
So if you were waiting for a big hammer to drop on your head for your faults and failings, don’t hold your breath because God also said that the greatest sinner had more right to his mercy than the just man. We have only to reach out for God to receive this gift of mercy.
This reaching is done with our heart. This week, I was privileged to meet a soul who had served God her whole life. She is dying of cancer, but suffers terribly because she can no longer actively go out and do works of service for God. Plus she can’t remember the words of the prayers she has recited her whole life, the Our Father and the Hail Mary. God doesn’t look at it the way she does. He sees her desire, her thirst for Him. She wants to pray. She thinks she can’t, but in the very act of wanting, she prays. Desire for God is the highest form of prayer. Jesus taught us this prayer on the cross, when He said, “I thirst.” But perhaps because He is God, His thirst was the mirror image of ours. He thirsts for us. We thirst for Him.
After He met the Samaritan woman at the well, who confessed she had no husband because she had in fact had had many, his apostles came and tried to make Him eat food. “Rabbi eat,” they said. But Jesus had just pulled in a big fish, the Samaritan woman herself and all the people from her town who came to see Him because she said, “Come and see a man who told me everything I have done.” So Jesus told the disciples, “I have food to eat of which you do not know.” They wondered if someone had brought Him food while they were gone. But Jesus explained: “My food is to do the will of the One Who sent Me and to finish His work.” Many of the Samaritans of that town began to believe in Jesus because of the word of the woman who testified: “He told me my sins.”
And in fact, while we were still in our sins, God so loved the world that He sent His Only Son. That is what we are waiting for this Christmas -- the tiny infant Word, Who was made flesh and dwelt among us.
The first to receive God’s Word was the Blessed Virgin Mary on whose feast day, Mr. Yoon’s family was killed. “Be it done to me according to your word,” she told the angel when he announced that she would become the mother of the “Son of the Most High God.” The Catholic Liturgy of the Hours during this time of waiting for the Birth of Jesus talks about the conception of Jesus in His mother’s womb, making a reference to the fruitfulness of a gentle rain.
“May the Holy One from heaven come down like gentle rain; may the earth burst into blossom and bear the tender Savior.”
I grew up in Washington State where we have very gentle and constant rain. I remember my mother used to look out the window at the rain, and say, “Isn’t God good?”
Isn’t He good? Look what He has given us this Christmas – Himself, coming like gentle rain into the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Himself available anytime anywhere at any moment you ask. Just ask. Be thirsty. “Let anyone who thirsts come to Me and drink.” (John 7:37)
May God bless you during this Christmas Season.
Susan Fox

Friday, November 28, 2008

Twilight's Confession

--> by Susan Fox
"And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the light, and does not come into the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does what is true comes to the light, that it may be clearly seen that his deeds have been wrought in God.” (John 3:19-21)
Welcome to the Light: the Sacrament of Reconciliation is an intimate encounter with Jesus Christ in His Tribunal of Mercy. The movie Twilight contains a  scene that demonstrates the power of this sacrament.  Sometimes a good movie can help us understand something about human nature.
wilight is about the love between a human girl and a vampire. It has all the magic and power of Shakespeare’s tale of Romeo and Juliet, a star-crossed pair of lovers whose relationship was doomed because their historically feuding families would never agree to their marriage. In Twilight, Edward and Bella fall in love, but their relationship is doomed from the beginning because in order to be consummated it means her death. Edward is an honorable vampire in this piece of literature based on the book by Stephenie Meyer. He therefore refuses to end her life in order to bring her into his life, which can be very brutal at times. 
There is a confessional scene in the movie in which Bella, learning that Edward is a vampire, confronts him. He reveals that he is a tortured soul, loving a girl, but afraid that he’ll accidentally kill her: “You can’t love me because I’ve killed people. I’m a predator. I’m the bad guy. If you wanted to get away from me you couldn't.” And when she turns to him and says, “I trust you. You won’t hurt me.” He then concludes she must see what he really looks like. Now the whole movie is charmingly filmed in Forks, Wash., which is located in a rain forest and it’s always cloudy and raining.
One of the things that Bella finds out about Edward and his “family” of other teenage vampires (foster vampire children with adoptive vampire parents) is that they do not come to high school classes when the sun shines. So Edward must fly Bella up to the top of a mountain above the cloud cover so she can see what he looks like in the sunshine. It’s a glorious scene in which he walks up out of the clouds, the gray, the dark and the rain into a tiny slash of sunlight. It’s filmed in the woods. She sees his face and the skin on his chest. Now this is a fantasy and Edward is not your traditional ugly dead thing. Instead as he walks into the sun, Bella marvels, “Your skin is like diamonds. You are beautiful.” Now on a very human level, hopefully that is what every bride says to her bridegroom on their wedding night.             But in a spiritual sense that is what happens to every soul that walks into the Catholic Church and goes to Confession. If we could see our souls after confession, we’d exclaim, “You are beautiful!” (Confession is for people who are already baptized, and have sinned. If you are not baptized, the same thing would happen when you are baptized.) St. Faustina calls the Sacrament of Reconciliation the Tribunal of God’s Mercy.
Those who avail themselves of this sacrament have not loved the darkness, but they have come to the Light. They have come to Christ to show Him just exactly what they are – warts and all – so they might be healed. And in the Light of that encounter with Jesus Christ, we are indeed healed. I speak from years of experience. Just as the woman at the well came to draw water and instead received living water (the Holy Spirit) when she met Jesus Christ. “Sir, give me this water that I might not thirst, nor come here to draw (water).” (Jn 4:15) Ah, but first she must be cleansed. So to facilitate this, Jesus, says, “Go call your husband, and come here.” (Jn 4:16). He knew what she would say next: “I have no husband.” Jesus says to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and he whom you now have is not your husband. This you said truly.” Her sins were confessed, and she repented. And she believed: “Sir I perceive that you are a prophet.” Christ revealed to her that He was the Messiah. The encounter with Christ completely turned her life around. She became an evangelist who told everyone in the village about Jesus: “Come see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” (Jn 4:29) And that led everyone in her village to come out to Christ. And in the tradition of the Catholic Church we celebrate her life as that of St. Photina, who converted her own family, Emperor Nero’s daughter, Domnina, and in doing so enraged the emperor. He killed Photina, her sons and her sisters – all for the Christian faith. Such was the marvelous fruit of the Samaritan’s woman single encounter with Jesus Christ at the well.
Now what about poor Edward? Does his stepping into the sunlight and confessing his sins to Bella, his love, heal him in the same manner? Absolutely not. After she says, “You are beautiful,” he walks back into the darkness and announces, “I am a monster.” What a dramatic scene. The man had such beauty, and yet his soul concludes, “I am a monster.” So do we all without the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Ah, but St. James said, “Go confess your sins to one another.” Why couldn’t Edward be healed by confessing his sins to his friend? Why could not anyone be healed by confessing their sins to their friends? We must read Holy Scripture in context: “Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed.” (James 5:14-17) St. James is recommending getting your sins forgiven by the presbuterous – elders, root of the English word priest. Saint Ambrose said, “Christ granted this power to the apostles, and from the apostles it has been transmitted to the office of priests alone.” St. John Chrysostom said, “Priests have received a power which God has not given either to angels or archangels . . . they are able to forgive our sins.”
Why can’t I just talk to God in a mirror or my friend and confess my sins? Why did Edward walk back into the darkness and say, “I am a monster”?


This past week, I was privileged to read and discuss “Lord, Have Mercy: The Healing Power of Confession,” by Scott Hahn, former Presbyterian minister turned Catholic theologian. Hahn points out in this book that when Jesus said to the paralytic in Mark’s Gospel, chapter 2, “Son, your sins are forgiven you,” the scribes sitting around watching this thing unfold disbelieved He could do this. In their hearts, they said, “Why does this Man speak blasphemies like this? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” They knew that only God can forgive sins. The only thing they hadn’t figured out was that Jesus Christ was God. Jesus wasn’t ignorant of the teachings of his people. He knew what they would think if he said, “Your sins are forgiven.” So he healed the man to show that He could forgive sins. By forgiving his sins, He revealed that he was God.

I wish someone would do a romantic movie like Twilight about Christ. He is really phenomenal, and none of it has to be made up. It’s real. So if only God can forgive sins, why are sins forgiven in the Catholic Sacrament of Reconciliation and Penance? In our Catholic discussion group this past week, my husband of 25 years told us a story I had never heard before. In his youth, he had attended well, a “holy roller” Church. And he said it was very satisfying rolling around on the floor and crying about his sins. “Oh God, please, forgive me.” But when he went back the next week, they were still rolling around on the floor. And the same thing happened the third week. He concluded they did not recognize that they had been forgiven. And the one thing he knew from his life as a Catholic was that Jesus Christ has given the power to forgive sins to the apostles and they handed that power down to the prebuterous – the priests. So the next week he went to Confession for his sins.

After the Resurrection, Jesus came among his apostles in the locked upper room, and said, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” (John 20:21-23)

Jesus gave the apostles a divine power that night, the power to forgive sins. No man had ever held this power before. Now we know the apostles were human and they were not perfect people (Peter denied Christ three times). But yet they were human men given a divine power. And to what purpose? So that we might be healed. Was it only that generation that would be healed of their sins? No a divine power is given in every generation because Jesus Christ said He would be with the Church until the end of time. And He is not a liar. So the line of succession from the apostles has remained unbroken in the Catholic Church. Men of every generation have been given this power to forgive sins since the time of Christ. Good men, bad men, but still a divine power given so that the people who repent, who seek the Light of Christ might indeed have an encounter with Jesus similar to the one of the Samaritan woman at the well.

Does it work? Yes, after I go to confession I don’t walk around thinking I am a monster. I feel restored to my rightful place as a beloved child of God. The healing of the Tribunal of Mercy is something that no mere man could do. It is a divine power. I tried explaining it once to a teenage girl: I go to confession and confess my sins, and I reveal my temptations. Now I have done this many times, and the temptation has completely left me. If I had confessed my sins to a man, he would have had to follow me out of the confessional and say constantly, “Susan, don’t commit that sin again.” Over and over again. But the priest doesn’t do that. He doesn’t follow me out of the confessional. He doesn’t even remember what I told him. Yet the desire, the tastiness of the sin so to speak is completely gone! That is divine power. I thank God that Jesus has given this power to Catholic priests, and I can avail myself of this sacrament of the Catholic Church frequently. I may have loved the darkness at one time, but I have come into the Light enough times to know "But he who does what is true comes to the light, that it may be clearly seen that his deeds have been wrought in God." (Jn 3:21)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

God is my Treasure

Dear T-Bird,
I posted your whole response to the "Audacity of Despair" in the comments. But it doesn't show up very easily. You have to click on comments at the end of that posting to find it.
I am very glad you came into the Catholic Church and and that you said,"Why are we afraid of a man's opinion, when it comes right down to it; Heaven's opinion of us is the one that counts. What can man do to us? Kill us, hey I'm outta here and on to better things, so what can they do to us?"
That's a very important discernment principle in the Catholic Church that we should seek only Our Father's reward and none other. Only my Father's opinion matters. We should seek His Will, through the teachings of the Church, spiritual direction, reading Holy Scripture, the Sacraments and prayer, and therefore no man's opinion is god. Yet many people fear others' opinions. And there they live enslaved. I personally know what that enslavement is like as when I was a child and a young woman I was terribly insecure and worried what people would think of me. God - through daily Eucharistic Adoration - healed me of that enslavement. He showed me an experience I had as a child when I was only two years old. My father was sick. He had been sick since I was born, and my mother -- worried for him -- would keep me out of his room and try to keep me quiet so he could get his rest. Being kept out of that room, I somehow developed an understanding that I was not acceptable to my father. This plagued me my whole life as a deep sense of insecurity. I compensated for it by overachieving -- getting two bachelor's degrees, two master's degrees, traveling around Europe and rising in the world of journalism to a very high place. But I can remember waiting to interview the U.S. Treasury Secretary, and inside I felt like a bug about to be squashed. (He never knew that, of course -- I was a very tough newspaper woman) Then when I was 39 and I had abandoned my career to stay home with my young son, I was in the habit of dropping him off at school and going to the Adoration Chapel for an hour after wards. But on this day, the Father told me to go home and pray. So I did. And there he revealed to me the secret of my insecurity as that experience I had when I was two. I cried. But as an adult, I recognized the lie. Of course, my father had accepted me. In fact, I knew he had loved me. He died when I was four years old, so there was no way for the child to know that. But it was a lie, and so confronting that truth, I was just healed -- by God. I didn't feel like a squashed bug inside anymore. My husband and I had been married 10 years at that point, and something in him sensed that. Now he had walked on eggs our whole marriage, always afraid to say something critical even when he was mad as I would go "Boo Hoo. You don't love me." And so for three months, he was kinda mean! But it didn't bother me at all. And now we have great freedom in our marriage of 25 years to say what we think without the other person (me) getting offended.
Later I had a deeper lesson on this subject of my Father's reward. I was sitting in the home of my beloved mother. My stepfather -- who had multiple mental conditions -- was treating me like the dirt under the carpet. I felt so bad -- even knowing as I did that he couldn't help it. And then the Father reminded me that when I came to His House, which is also our house, he would welcome me, put a beautiful cloak on my shoulders, a ring on my finger and kill the fatted calf and have a nice party for me and my friends. That has stayed with me ever since, and God is my Father. The father that died and the father that was abusive, they were not perfect. Really, they were my brothers in Christ. But God is My Father! And I apologize because He is really Our Father!
You also said, "I was surprised with so much attention paid to this election by all the Parishes that the election went the way that it did. So many people attend, are their ears closed along with their hearts on these things. I know the Protestants were pushing the Republican agenda and with the Catholics combined we should have won this one. If we actually became one body in Christ, we should have defeated evil. But the scary thing is where is the heart of all of those who voted for such a man. The Bible says something about where our treasure is, there is our heart also. What is the treasure in their lives. We need to pray for these people. The real treasure is the Eucharist. What can they be focused on. I feel like saying, WAKE UP CHURCH!! Something is getting missed in Adult teaching in the church. Maybe our prayers should be about this."
Wow. That was also a very important discernment principle. Are you sure I don't know you? Where is your treasure, that is where your heart is, and the Eucharist is the greatest treasure. Catholics can never say that they have been given nothing as they have been given it ALL in the Holy Eucharist. And that is the real meaning of that Gospel Reading we had last Sunday about the servants who banked and buried the talents. I was told it was a question of practicing the piano if I was good at it. Or practicing baseball if I was good at that. But no, it referred to those Catholics who sit on their hands and vote for Obama and complain they have nothing to give back to the Church because they are poor -- when in fact they have everything in Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. And if they only shared that knowledge with others, they would realize how rich they are. I'm really glad you have this impression that the election was preached about and everyone should have known how to vote. Unfortunately, that depends on what diocese you are in. There is a fear among some in the Church that it will lose its tax exempt status if it allows its priests to preach against abortion. (Sounds like they are worried about the opinion of man and not God, right?) Some American bishops have said maybe we should stop worrying about our tax exempt status. They are concerned about God's opinion, and not that of the IRS. But I think from this election that God has settled the matter, for unless He works a miracle (and we should all pray for that) we are going to lose all our Catholic hospitals and adoption agencies, our right to stand outside abortion clinics and quietly pray, our right to exercise our freedom of conscience if we are Catholic pharmacists or doctors. We may lose our money as well -- maybe not our tax exempt status because Satan wants us to continue to be enslaved by that, but if there is widespread unemployment and the government seizes our retirement savings, there will be less money given to the church. God bless You T-Bird. Susan Fox

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Audacity of Despair: The Obama Administration and Catholic Culpability

by Susan Fox

Why did 55% of American Catholics vote for Barack Obama?

Under the guise of voting for hope, they chose despair.

Case in point, my friend, Phoebe, goes to daily Mass in Northern California. A very shy person, the day after the election she saw a fellow Catholic with a Barack Obama pin going to the same Mass she did. She was so shocked she forgot to be shy, and she said, "How could you vote for the most pro-abortion candidate in American history?" The woman said, "Oh, we are never going to change the abortion laws in this country. He will help the poor."

Oh yes, the man (Obama) who said he was glad that gasoline was $4.50 a gallon really cares about the poor. Tell that to the young receptionist at my veterinarian's office. I looked in her sad eyes this summer as she told me how far she had to drive to work and how she was driving in 116 degree weather without the air conditioning on to save money. I told her to move a block from work. She said in fact she and her husband were looking for a rental near their jobs.
And in fact, that daily Mass going Catholic is wrong. We were only one Supreme Court Justice away from overturning Roe v. Wade.

I apologize to the poor, to the rich, to the unborn, the young people with limited job and career opportunities and the elderly of this country for the Catholics who were so poorly
Catholics chasing
false Hope and Change

catechized by our church that they thought they were free to vote for the most pro-death candidate in American history. In point of fact, they were not. Their eternal salvation is in jeopardy, and we must pray for them.

In the days before the election, Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City urged Catholics not to vote for Barack Obama.
"You make yourself a participant in the act of abortion and you must not do it because your eternal salvation is tied up with that important choice," Bishop Finn said. "I would say, 'Give consideration to your eternal salvation.' Because to vote for a person who has expressed a fanatical determination to not only support abortion as it exists now but to remove all limitations on it through the Freedom of Choice Act, and to extend it without any recourse, throwing out all of the efforts of citizens over the last 35 years to place reasonable limits on abortion, that voting for a person who has expressed his determination to do this to Planned Parenthood, to NARAL — that you make yourself a participant in the act of abortion. That’s gravely wrong, and you mustn’t do it because your eternal salvation is tied up in that important choice."

The pastor of one of our parishes in in Phoenix, informed his daily Mass goers the next day after the election that they were not free to receive communion that day if they had voted for a pro-abortion candidate. Instead, he said, they should present themselves to him for the Sacrament of Penance. That was a courageous pastor. May God give us millions more like him.

I remember telling a Catholic friend the very same thing several years ago in a diocese far, far away. He said, he'd voted for a pro-abortion candidate. I said, "Ron, go to confession." At that time, and in that diocese, I was an alien and a stranger. In a hushed voice, they called my husband and I, "fundamentalists." That means we seriously accept the teachings of the Catholic Church and every word that is written in the Bible.

(Since this article was originally written, the list of people harmed by the Catholic vote has grown. Sin spreads. The list includes the families of the four Americans killed in Benghazi and families of DEA agents and Mexicans killed in "Fast and Furious" where the Obama Administration ran assault rifles into Mexico and gave them to the drug cartels. Don't forget the poor voters in Pennsylvania on election day intimidated by the Black Panthers, who were never prosecuted for their crimes. Then there are the janitors, sales associates, stocking clerks and all non-managerial employees at Forever 21, who lost their medical insurance and 10.5 hours of work a week because of Obama (doesn't) Care. The American people are suffering also with increased taxes, lost jobs, and a several trillion dollar federal budget. We have lost our right to privacy as the NSA has a log of all our phone calls and emails. Don't forget 7 million Americans killed in abortion since Barack Obama took office on Jan. 20, 2009.)

Speaking of the Bible, St. Teresa of Avila, told us hundreds of years ago that the reason for all the ills in the world is that people will not seriously read and pray the Holy Scripture every day. If we were to adopt that practice, we would solve all the world's problems. Why? The Word of God is Alive! And it is a two-edged sword, and it never goes out without coming back bearing fruit. 

In fact, the Holy Spirit is waiting to give you a personal message on every page of the Holy Bible and a different message every day, but all of it in conformity with the Deposit of Faith handed down to us by the Holy Apostles -- that Deposit carefully preserved by the authority of the Holy Catholic Church. The Holy Spirit is not a liar. He would not tell one thing to one church and the opposite thing to another, or one thing to one person and the opposite to the Church. And Jesus said he would be with the Church for all eternity, and whatsoever Peter bound on earth would be bound in heaven, and whatever he would loose on earth would be loosed in heaven. This is not some invisible Church. It is a real earthly institution with a spiritual authority.

While the successors of Peter do have the power of binding and loosing, they have not been free to change one Truth that was handed down to them by the 12 Apostles. That is called the Deposit of Faith. And true to Christ's Word, they have not changed anything. They have upheld and preserved what was given to us from the beginning. That is why Pope John Paul II said he could not ordain women. Only the Catholic Church has preserved the truths taught to us by God through Jesus Christ.

But inside that context, try this: quietly read a favorite passage of Scripture with a close friend or family member. You will be convinced the Holy Spirit said one thing. Your friend will focus on a different message in the same passage. That is how God's Word is Alive. God is speaking uniquely to each of us all day long. Just listen. Be awake and listen.
Pick up the Bible tonight.

We may just change the politics of despair in America to the politics of real hope.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Come Lord Jesus Come Nov. 4

Dear Heavenly Father,
I ask You now, will you continue to protect this nation from its own stupidity and folly? Will You guard your Church through this crisis? Or will you allow our nation to expire, lose its creativity and fail economically. This is after all what we deserve. For 35 years, we have allowed the slaughter of our own innocents. How many women have suffered after making that fatal mistake? How many children have been denied their Baptisms, First Communions, their graduation, their weddings, the chance to have children and grow old with their spouse.
I had two miscarriages 18 and 22 years ago, and I still grieve the loss of those children. At times I almost saw them running in the door with my son James, age 20, the only one to make it out of the womb alive. This past week my friends and I in the Eucharistic Apostles of the Divine Mercy went and prayed outside an abortion clinic in Tempe, AZ. One of our members was inspired to go back on Friday morning at 8 a.m. when the women line up for the abortions. She witnessed one young woman running sobbing from the clinic at 9 a.m. How long Father will you allow us to suffer from our own stupidity? You are a God of Mercy, please, please do not allow us to continue to sin in this manner. Do not leave us blind, deaf and dumb. Put people in the media who truly want to seek the truth and report it. Give us the gift of self-knowledge and the courage to do something about it. Let Americans live in reality and not on TV.
Don't get me wrong, Father, I am so pleased that at least half our Catholic bishops have spoken out, and told the American Catholics to vote pro-life. I thank you for this. I ask you to continue to give us holy, courageous bishops and priests, ones who will speak the truth from the pulpit regardless of whether it will jeopardize our tax exempt status or not. If we become so fearful of losing money that we can't defend the most helpless among us, then I fear we will become like the salt that has fallen on the ground and become spoiled. Do not allow us to hide our light under a bushel basket. Bring all quaking Christians out from under that basket on Nov. 4 and help them to put their light on a lamp stand, so that Your Son Jesus Christ, the Light of the World, will not be ashamed of His servants. Come Lord Jesus. The Spirit and the Bride say, "Come."
Susan Fox

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's goods, nor his life.

The upcoming election is a battle for the soul of the American people.

How many commandments of God do we break if we vote for Barach Obama? At least three.

I realize that may sound harsh to some people and I fully admit that John McCain is not perfect.
Nobody is perfect. Only God is Perfect.
However when I listen to the people on the radio explaining why they will vote for Barach Obama, I recognize a certain temptation.
Joe the Plumber tripped up Barach Obama this week when he got him to admit that he wanted to take money from some Americans and give it to others. Thou shalt not steal.
Some Americans think that they will be the recipient of that money because they feel poor. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's goods. The irony is that during the Clinton years, those people making $40,000 a year, who feel poor, paid much higher taxes than under President Bush. Those who try to steal from their friends and neighbors in this election will ultimately find Barach Obama has his hand in their own pocket. That's the way the sin of greed works. And really when Joe the Plumber can't afford to buy his plumbing business because of new taxes, neither can any waitress, seamstress, car salesman or school teacher in America.

The American dream is inaccessible to all Americans when taxes are raised. And no one has any incentive to make over $250,000 a year if they are not going to get to keep it. Therefore, there are tons of people Joe the Plumber won't hire if he is not able to acquire his plumbing business because of taxes.

But this is not the main commandment one breaks if he votes for Barach Obama. Barach Obama supports murder. That's right murder. Thou shalt not kill. And if you are hoping for money from the sky in an Obama presidency and you support Barach Obama, who favors abortion, infanticide and euthanasia, someday yours may be the life that is cut down before its time. For when the innocent do not have the right to life, no one does.

In Holland, a woman needed surgery, but didn't want to go to the hospital for the surgery for fear that she would be killed against her will in the hospital. Her doctor promised her, he would stay in her room all night to make sure she was not put to death. Everything worked as promised, but in the morning the doctor went to shower and shave, and when he returned someone else was in the woman's bed. He asked the nurse where she was, and the nurse replied that they needed the bed for someone else, so they had killed the woman.

In England, there is a well publicized case of a man who has a disease that will result in his becoming incapacitated before he dies. He fears they they will not supply him with fluids and a feeding tube at the end of his life, so he went to court to try and get the right to live when he was unable to speak for himself. The courts in England determined that he could not have that right. In fact, neither could his family. The courts said the doctors would make that determination. And recognize here that they have socialized medicine in England, so the state will save money if the state-hired doctors and state-run hospital decide to starve the poor sick man to death, a painful and horrible death, I may add.

What kind of monstrous culture has England and America bred in the last four decades? It's called the culture of death, and it is the fruit of abortion. When I was a young girl in the 1960s my mother argued passionately that if our country made abortion legal, euthanasia was not far behind. At the time, such an idea was ludicrous. No one could imagine it. But my mother died in 2001 of natural causes, but not before several doctors tried to hurry her out of this world. In fact, two weeks before her death, the doctors presented her with the option of just letting herself die. They used me and my stepfather to go into her room and say, "Mom, you can die of kidney failure now, and it's supposed to be a fairly comfortable way to go." My mother was 82, and had only one leg, and had come in to amputate the second one. But death was not on her schedule. She had miles to go and places to see, and things to accomplish. So she responded, "That is the most ridculous thing I have ever heard!" We had the hospital do everything they could to save her life, but in the end her heart failed. My mother's name was Tora, which is Norweigian for "tear drop." She enjoyed the last two weeks of her life immensely, believing that she would get better. When my son James and I prayed the Rosary over her, one eye was able to tear up and spill over. When we played religious music in her room (Simonetta on the Real Presence) , I walked back into her room while it was playing and one eye was watering excessively. At this point, she could not speak. And before that I brought in herbs from my garden, lush scents of basil, mint, oregano, lavendar, and this when she was more alert, she held them and breathed in the scents and appreciated them more than perhaps she had in her lifetime. At this point she had just recently become blind. Many people do not realized that we are not supposed to suppress, numb or cancel out our senses in order to grow in the spiritual life. In fact, our senses are to be sanctified, and used for God's glory. A tear spilled out of my mother's one eye for the last time on the afternoon she died when she realized she could not breathe anymore and on her face was a look I recognized. Years before whenever it rained in Washington State -- as it often did -- she would say, "Isn't God good?" She had appreciated life to such a degree that now -- at the end -- she truly regretted leaving it. That is a proper human response to death even when one believes passionately in eternal life, and has done everything possible to live one's life righteously.

The 10 commandments were summarized by Jesus into two. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with your whole heart, your whole strength and your whole being. And love your neighbor as yourself. Friends, keep Jesus Christ as your Messiah, and love your neighbor. Don't kill him, don't take his money. Vote for John McCain.

If you would like a good laugh see John McCain at the Al Smith dinner with the bishops last night:http://beltwayblips.com/video/mccain_at_the_al_smith_dinner/

If you want to witness the evil of abortion first hand, watch this video.
While this is very hard to watch, no one should go to the voting booth without seeing it.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Eucharist Desecrated, Sarah Palin impaled

Recently it was reported that a biology professor at the Morris campus of the University of Minnesota (Hint: don't send your kids there) made good on his announced plans to desecrate the Holy Eucharist. This was reported by Bill Donohue of the Catholics League (www.catholicleague.org), who protested strongly to the University, but to no avail. The poor misguided soul (the biology professor) on July 24, 2008, drove a rusty nail through a consecrated Host, and posted a picture of it on his blog.

I was horrified, since this is the deliberate mishandling of the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ. The professor believed that the "cracker" had no power, but the reason he was so easily able to desecrate the Host is the same reason that Our Lord allowed Himself to be led like a Lamb to the slaughter, the same reason that He allowed Judas to betray Him to the Sanhedrin of his time, and the same reason that countless Christian martyrs have given their lives to witness to the reality of God's presence in the Holy Eucharist. When Pontius Pilate boasted that he had power over Jesus Christ, Our Lord's response was that he would not have it except that it was given to him from above.
Yet my husband’s response to this desecration was, “Ho Hum, more of the same.” He said calling the Host a “cracker” was common in anti-Catholic sources. I never came across this stuff before. But recently, I have been reading “The Devotion to the Sacred Heart” by Fr. John Croiset, S.J., a book published in 1691 and written during the lifetime of the visionary St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, published by Tan Books. Fr. Croiset is angry about the desecration the Holy Eucharist in his time, and before. “The first distribution of Holy Communion at the Last Supper was dishonored by the most horrible of all sacrileges (Judas reception of Communion and subsequent betrayal of Jesus Christ, which is deicide.), and this horrible sacrilege has been followed during the ages by all the outrages and profanations that Hell could invent. Not only have people lost all respect for Jesus Christ on our altars, not only have they treated Him as a mock king and ridiculed His divinity (Crowning of Thorns), not only have they pillaged, demolished and burned the churches where He had condescended to remain constantly for the love of men, and the altars on which He immolated Himself every day for them; not only have they broken, melted down, and profaned the sacred vessels which have a thousand times served for the dread Sacrifice of the Mass; but they have even dragged on the ground and trampled under foot His adorable Body in the Consecrated Hosts and -- what should horrify devils, and even monsters worse than devils – they have pierced these Consecrated Hosts with knives thousands of times.”
Do you remember the story in the Old Testament of King Belshazzar, who ordered the vessels of gold and silver which his father, King Nebuchadnezzar, had pillaged from the Temple in Jerusalem to be brought into the king so he, his wives, his servants and his entertainers might drink from them? They were praising their gods while drinking from the vessels, which was a sacrilege, and suddenly the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the wall. This terrified the king, and no one could read the message until they called for the Jewish prophet Daniel. Daniel gave him the message, “Mene, Tekel, and Peres.” Sorry king, you have not humbled yourself before God, and you have profaned the sacred vessels of God’s Holy Temple. “Mene: God has numbered your kingdom and put an end to it. Tekel: you have been weighed on the scales and found wanting. Peres: Your kingdom has been divided and given to the Medes and Persians.” (Daniel 5: 26-28) And that very night Belshazzar, the Chaldean king, was slain.
Let us pray for our biology professor. However, less we become complacent, Fr. Croiset goes on concerning the outrages against the Holy Eucharist, “O my Savior, how many Catholics there are who treat Thee scarcely less insultingly! Abomination penetrates even into the Holy of Holies. It is difficult to say which of the two treats Jesus Christ with greater impiety and ingratitude, the heretic who profanes our churches in which he believes that Jesus Christ is not really present, or the Catholic who, while making profession of believing, presents himself before Jesus Christ with so little respect.” “People discuss news and business matters even at the foot of the altar, and must we confess, O my God, to the shame of our age, that there are even Catholics who are guilty of abominable and impious conversation in the church? Some people assist at Mass as they would at a profane show . . . After a perfunctory genuflection, they sit down and often talk. Behold the homage, the gratitude, the return of love which Jesus Christ receives from a large number of Christians!” He goes on at great length, but you get the idea. And all this happened in 1691. Déjà Vue.
Now we have the matter of the hatred that has been shown to Republican Vice Presidential Candidate Sarah Palin. People wonder why the media is so mean to her. They have said she should stay home with her five kids and not work. One man called into a talk show and made this point. The host asked if he wanted Democratic Vice Presidential Candidate Sen. Biden to have stayed home with his small children after his wife died. The answer was, “No” because Sen. Biden didn’t have a Down’s syndrome baby." Ah, the root of the problem with Sarah is that she didn’t kill her handicapped son, Trig Paxson Van Palin, when he was completely helpless in the womb and could not defend himself. So Trig is much like that “cracker” stabbed with a rusty knife by a biology professor from the University of Minnesota (don’t send your kids there.) Except that he was given to a family who made the decision to cherish and love him. Catholics, let us cherish and love Our Lord Jesus Christ in the same manner, and seek to see and serve Him in our children, friends, family and enemies. Susan Fox

Sunday, September 7, 2008

St. Thomas More: A Sign of Courage for Our Time

--> by Susan Fox

I have been a daily Mass going Catholic since the age of 13. But yet in my teens and my twenties I yet was a relativist. I believed firmly in my faith and lived my life accordingly. But if a friend of mine told me of their plans to commit a serious sin, I said, “That’s cool. That’s your business.” In short, relativism which holds that everyone’s opinion is correct and there is no objective right and wrong, leads to the sin of omission.

Relativism began to creep into our culture with the Reformation. Somehow denying the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, the authority of the Magisterium and the role of the human mother of Jesus in our sanctification that brought about many of the evils we face in our culture today.
What is fascinating is the life of the Catholic martyr St. Thomas More, who suffered and died on the the cusp of the Reformation actually foreseeing the horror that would befall the world because almost every prominent Catholic of his age except himself and Bishop John Fisher were willing to sign a piece of paper saying that King Henry the VIII was the head of the Church of England. Thomas More had to spend 15 months in the Tower of London facing the possibility of a beheading for his stubborn position. And while there, we must believe he suffered the Agony in the Garden all over again, and wrote about it in a book called “The Sadness of Christ.” I highly recommend this book.
Born in 1477 in England, More was the son of a lawyer who became a lawyer. He lived in a time when everyone thought that marriage was a concession to weakness. As a result, many were lured by romantic images of grandeur and glory associated with priestly and religious life. More considered it a grave problem that the Catholic Church did not adequately test those who thought they had a vocation. He judged that half the Church’s problems in those days could be traced to the fact that there were too many priests.

Growing up in London at the peak of the Middle Ages, More did not have any attractive or compelling models of people who consciously set out to achieve Christian perfection in and through marriage. He did have many attractive models of priests who achieved sanctity by renouncing the world. To some extent More actually never shook completely this prejudice of his age that marriage was not a path to sainthood.

But in his early 20s he lived near the London Charterhouse, a Carthusian monastery, where he participated in the monk’s life of prayer, and learned their austere ways of living. He learned from the best spiritual masters in the London of his time. Many of these Carthusians later joined More in suffering death and some torture rather than reject their Catholic faith. But More discerned through these men that he was called to marriage. He became in his own words “a chaste husband rather than a licentious priest.” But he continued the practices of prayer and mortification he learned there throughout his life, actually wearing a hair shirt until his death.

The manner in which he chose his wife was unusual too. He picked her based on the good character of her parents. Jane Colt, age 17, was the oldest of 11 daughters, but More was actually attracted to her younger sister first. But feeling that it would be an insult if the younger sister married first he fixed his interest on the eldest. Unfortunately, she had not been educated as had been More, who at age 27 was already an accomplished scholar, lawyer and writer. When he set about improving her education, she resisted violently. She repeatedly threw herself on the floor and cried.

More looked for a solution to this problem, so arranged to visit her family and go hunting with her father. The father-in-law did not want to get involved so he told More that he had given her once and for all, and More should simply exercise his rights as a husband and beat her. More responded: “I know my rights as a husband, but I’d prefer to have her cured by your authority.”

So the father-in-law spoke to his daughter, reminded her that she had been a very homely girl, and he had not thought he could find her a husband for her at all. But with great difficulty he’d found the kind of husband any girl would long for. And now she was setting about to rebel against his authority. After that scolding, the girl promptly went down on her knees, begged her father’s forgiveness and did the same with her husband. After that both spouses were devoted to each other as both made the basis of their marriage the pursuit of virtue. Jane died in the sixth year of their marriage leaving More with four little children and no one to care for them. Within one month he married Alice Middleton. Six years his senior, Alice was the best and most virtuous of all the available women he knew. But again she lacked his education, or even his sense of humor. But they came to love each other well because of his kindness and humor.

Just before Jane’s death, (in 1510) More was elected to Parliament, and then Undersheriff of London. This meant that he was hearing hundreds of cases a year as a judge in London where his careful concern for justice got him a reputation as a completely incorruptible judge who would even make decisions against his own family members if they were in the wrong.

After 8 years of serving the common people as undersheriff, More reluctantly joined the king’s service because he saw an opportunity there to end the wars King Henry the VIII had undertaken in his ambition for power. More had known King Henry the VIII since they were boys, and they were good friends. King Henry would sometimes show up at More’s house in Chelsea unexpectedly “to make merry,” have dinner, and then stroll through More’s gardens arm in arm. This prompted More’s son-in-law, Roper, to congratulate him on the extraordinary favor he enjoyed with the King. But in this relationship, Sir Thomas More showed great realism and humility. “Son Roper,” More responded,” I may tell you that I have no cause to be proud because of this; for if my head could win him a castle in France, it should not fail to go.”

More rose to the position of Chancellor of England and the King’s secretary. But King Henry the VIII was getting restless in his 20-year marriage to Queen Catherine, his first wife. While he had had other affairs that had ended amicably without disturbing his marriage, a young woman named Anne Boleyn refused to bed the king, holding out for marriage. Ann Boleyn wanted to be queen in Catherine’s stead. King Henry wanted Ann. The Catholic Church did not grant divorce. What to do?

Ann began feeding the king Protestant texts. These texts said that the king ruled by divine right and not by the will of the people. Despite More’s efforts to constantly remind the king that he had previously spurned these Protestant authors, Henry gradually gave in to the bad advice of a group of straw men who used Henry’s lust to gain power. Amazingly Parliament defended the Church, but the Church’s own governing body gave in. In 1531, Henry was declared Supreme Head of the Catholic Church in England. In 1532 More resigned his office, but did everything he could to avoid confronting the King directly. In 1533, the king’s puppet archbishop approved the king’s divorce. Ann Boleyn had her coronation as queen of England and many Catholic bishops attended. They sent More money for a gown so he could go also, but More sent it back saying diplomatically through a story that he did not want to compromise his virtue. By 1534 Henry was trying to get More indicted for treason against the king. And everyone had to sign a document saying the king was the Supreme Head of the Church of England, or else they faced execution. More’s friends and family signed. All the Roman Catholic bishops in England signed except one, John Fisher, and he was executed as was More. More would not sign.
It is ironic that when More first entered the king’s service, Henry had promised More he would accept the freedom of his conscience. Yet early in his career, More had already realized the danger. He wrote that tyranny comes through sins of omission – respectable people in high positions are guilty of negligence, greed and cowardice. (It is fascinating that in the Gospel of Life, Pope John Paul II says that the democratic state has descended to a form of totalitarianism when human life is no longer protected from conception to natural death. “How is it still possible to speak of the dignity of every human person when the killing of the weakest and most innocent is permitted? In the name of what justice is the most unjust of discriminations practiced: some individuals are held to be deserving of defense and others (unborn, handicapped, and aged) are denied that dignity? When this happens, the process leading to the breakdown of a genuinely human co-existence and the disintegration of the state itself has already begun,” Pope John Paul II warned in the Gospel of Life.) More in his writing respectfully pointed out that the Catholic bishops of his time were the ones most at fault. They failed to stand up for the Church’s right to exist independent of the king, a right which had existed in England since the Magna Carta was signed in 1215. But King Henry tempted by lust turned the Magna Carta on its head.

Locked in the Tower of London, for 15 months before his execution on July 6, 1535, More wrote the “Sadness of Christ.” He had meditated long and hard on the Passion of Christ his whole life. Now, the fruit of that meditation would allow him to go to the gallows telling jokes.

In the Agony in the Garden, More saw a “clear and sharp mirror image” of what occurs in every age. Many of God’s martyrs went to their deaths joyfully, hardly
noticing that they were being killed. But for some reason, the Gospels record that Christ was so full of fear he sweat blood and had to be consoled by an angel. More pondered why Christ, who was God, allowed Himself to show such weakness. Besides He had told his followers not to fear death, but the enemy who can take away eternal life.

More wrote, “For He hardly intended it to mean that they should never under any circumstances recoil from a violent death, but rather that they should not, out of fear, flee from a death which will not last, only to run, by denying the faith into one which will be everlasting.”

He compared this decision for martyrdom when it absolutely cannot be avoided to an amputation. The doctor tells you to endure the momentary pain of the amputation so that you might have the pleasure of health and the avoidance of even more pain. “Indeed, though our Savior Christ commands us to suffer death (when it cannot be avoided) rather than fall away 
from Him through a fear of death (and we do fall away from Him when we publicly deny our faith in Him), still He does not require us to do violence to our nature by not fearing death at all.”

In fact, Jesus said, “If you are persecuted in one city, flee to another.” All of Christ’s disciples did just that until God in His Providence led them to their end. More counsels us not to volunteer to for martyrdom. It is only required if your last remaining choice is to deny God or die.

More said that Christ foresaw that there would be many people of such a delicate constitution that they would be convulsed with terror at the thought of being tortured, so he chose to encourage them by the example of his own sorrow, sadness, weariness and unequalled fear. For these little sheep, Christ deliberately placed the story of His own Agony in the Garden into Scripture by telling it to the apostles after His Resurrection! More concludes there were no
witnesses to the sweating blood of Christ because they were all asleep. Plus he didn’t have time to tell anyone about it until after He was dead. Nevertheless, he wanted us to know of his weakness and fear to encourage his followers in future ages.

More also says that Christ gave us the model for how to deal with imminent danger. He took Peter, James and John and asked them to pray with Him. Then He went a little way and fell face down on the earth and prayed. By this passage, Christ taught us when assailed by fear that we should ask others to watch and pray and still place our trust in God alone. That was wise in Jesus’ case because the men he asked to watch and pray with him that night, Peter, James and John, they fell asleep. They loved Jesus intensely, but they fell asleep.

More gives us a lesson on prayer at this point. Imagine, you have committed a crime of high treason, and you are seeking a pardon from President Bush to commute the death sentence. Stroll around. If courtesy requires you to kneel first, request someone put a cushion under your knees. Then yawn, spit, sneeze and belch. In short, while talking to President Bush, conduct yourself in such a fashion that he can see you are clearly thinking of something else. What success could we hope from such an approach? “And do we think it is reasonable, when we have been caught committing a whole series of far more serious crimes, to beg pardon so contemptuously from the king of all kings, God Himself, who when He has destroyed our bodies has the power to send both body and soul together to hell?”

More says it’s okay to pray while walking, etc. as long as we turn our hearts and minds to God while doing so. He strongly recommends nevertheless that we also put aside time to prepare for serious prayer and pray in a more reverent posture.

The point of the interactions between Jesus and the Apostles, however, is that we must pray constantly because Satan seeks to sift us like wheat. More sees this passage of Scripture where Jesus keeps returning to the apostles and asking them to stay awake and pray as an admonition to the future pastors of the Church “not to allow themselves the slightest wavering, out of sadness or weariness or fear, in their diligent care of their flock, but rather to conduct themselves so as to prove in actual fact that they are not so much concerned for themselves as for the welfare of their flock.”

More lived during the time of Martin Luther and other false Protestant reformers of the Catholic Church, who seeing her faults sought to destroy her rather than make her better. So when he reads the passage in Scripture, “And there appeared to Him an angel from heaven to strengthen Him,” he thinks about those who think it’s futile to seek the intercession of an angel or a departed saint because we can confidently pray directly to God Himself. How many times have you been told that Catholics worship Mary because they pray to her? This is the fruit of that thinking in the Reformation.

More says these so-called Christians “express their envious displeasure at the glory of the saints. . . Why should these shameless men not follow the same line of reasoning here and argue that the angel’s effort to offer consolation to our Savior Christ was utterly pointless and superfluous?” More argued that Christ had a twofold purpose in relating this experience to the apostles after His death. He wanted us to know that He, who brought men back from the dead, was God, yes, but also a man, who experienced fear until the point of sweating blood and needing an angel’s consolation. Moreover, Christ wanted to give us hope that when we are in danger, we cannot lack consolation as long as we pray – not in a lazy and perfunctory way – but sighing and praying from the bottom of our hearts as Christ did.

More says there seems to be two kinds of martyrs. Those who go bravely to their execution filled with joy. Think of St. Lawrence the Deacon, who being grilled on an oven, joked with his captors, “Turn me over. I’m done on that side.” And then there are those whose knees shake and they are in terrible terror. More says that the ones who are filled with joy are not necessarily better than those who are scared. They simply may be weaker, and God knows it’s the only way they’ll get through the experience, so he gives them that grace. He says, yes, God loves a cheerful giver, but he loved Tobias and Job as well, and they bore their calamities bravely and patiently, but neither of them were exactly jumping for joy in their sufferings.

You’ll be happy to know that while it’s clear that St. Thomas More faced this terrible fear in the Tower of London, on the day of his execution he was merry indeed. His good humor startled and scandalized many. We know five jests he told on the way to the gallows. For instance, one of the officers demanded his upper garment for his fee, meaning his gown. More answered that he should have it, and gave him his cap, saying it was his uppermost garment. One of the sheriff’s gave him a hand to help him up the scaffold, and he said, “When I come down again, let me shift for myself as well as I can.” Also the hangman knelt down and asked for forgiveness for his death as was the custom, More said, “I forgive you, but I promise you that you will never have glory for striking off my head since my neck is so short."

More frequently expressed a desire to “make merry in heaven” with those who betrayed him. He prayed for the grace to think my greatest enemies my best friends. “For the brethren of Joseph could never have done him so much good with their love and favor as they did him with their malice and hatred.” In the Old Testament Joseph, beloved son of Isaac,
Joseph sold into slavery in Egypt
was sold into slavery in Egypt by his jealous brothers. By this means, he rose to a very high position in Egypt and was able to save all his family from famine.

But nevertheless, in the “Sadness of Christ,” More contrasts sharply Judas being wide awake planning Jesus’ betrayal, while the other 11 were asleep. “Does not this contrast between the traitor and the apostles present to us a clear and sharp mirror image, a sad and terrible view of what has happened throughout the ages form those times even to our own? Why do not bishops contemplate in this scene their own somnolence? Since they
have succeeded in the place of the apostles, would that they would reproduce their virtues just as eagerly as they embrace their authority and as faithfully as they display their sloth and sleepiness! For very many are sleepy and apathetic in sowing virtues among the people and maintaining the truth, while the enemies of Christ in order to sow vices and uproot the faith are wide wake – so much wise are the sons of darkness in their generation than are the sons of light.”

And while the apostles slept out of sadness, many sleep down through the ages even until More’s time “because of a fear of injury to themselves, a fear which is so much the worse as its cause is the more contemptible, that is, when it is not a question of life or death, but of money.” How many times have I heard that we cannot preach against abortion from the pulpit because we will lose our non-profit tax exempt status. The bishop of Arlington, Virginia, some years ago said if money is preventing us from standing up for human life, Catholic Churches should surrender our tax exempt status voluntarily.

And yet Christ commands us not to fear the loss of the body for His sake. “The good shepherd,” says Christ, “lays down
his life for his sheep.” “But” More writes, “if every good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep, certainly one who saves his own life to the detriment of his sheep is not fulfilling the role of a good shepherd.”

Thomas More and brave Bishop John Fisher were not canonized until 1935-- 400 years after their deaths. The Catholic religion which More defended with his life was outlawed in England until 1829. Only in 1850 did England have its Catholic hierarchy restored, and their first act was to request Sir Thomas More be given his due.

Nothing happens accidentally, everything is gifted providentially. G.K. Chesterton said in 1929 that “Blessed Thomas More is more important at this moment than at any moment since his death, even perhaps the great moment of his dying; but he is not quite so important as he will be in about 100 years time.”

Ladies and Gentlemen, St. Thomas More was canonized on the eve of the atrocities of World War II. But he is gaining in popularity now.

What has happened to our world in the meantime! In California, a court has legalized homosexual unions, which will lead to homosexual marriage nationwide because anyone can marry in California, whether resident or not. In Boston, the Catholic Church has been forced to stop handling adoptions because they are required by law to allow homosexuals to adopt. The Anglican Church is ordaining both women and homosexuals as bishops. The remnant of true Catholics in the Anglican religion are petitioning Rome directly to accept them back into the Catholic Church because when they tried to return to the Catholic faith some years before, they were not welcomed by the Catholic bishops in the United Kingdom. In Florida, Terri Schiavo, a handicapped woman was starved to death by a judge who ruled in favor of her estranged husband. Terry’s Catholic bishop would not send a priest to her side when she was dying so a bishop from another diocese in the United States sent one of his bishops. Recently, I heard Jesse Ramirez on the radio, and the same thing happened to him. He was having a fight with his wife over her infidelities. She grabbed the steering wheel on the car he was driving and he ended up in hospital in a vegetative state. She had his feeding tube removed. Jesse had joined his wife’s religion, the LDS, to keep the peace in the family, but he was a lapsed Catholic. So his parents asked the Catholic bishop to give him the last sacraments, but the bishop refused saying Jesse was dead. However, another court stopped the starvation, and Jesse recovered to return to the Catholic faith, receive the sacraments and tell us the story on the radio a few weeks ago.

My dear friends, please do as St. Thomas More said, and pray constantly. Pray for priests. Pray for bishops. Pray for lay Catholics in United States in positions of authority. Ask God to give them the courage of Christ as exemplified in the life of St. Thomas More. Lord, keep us all awake. The only way for these catastrophes to have fallen upon us in our age is because many, many Christians have fallen asleep. Many voters have fallen asleep. Some years ago I was contrasting the persecution we suffer in the Legion of Mary in the U.S. versus China. In China, they imprisoned us, they killed us, they tortured us. In the U.S. we suffer from benign neglect and supreme indifference. But as
St. Thomas More told his family, “We’re not going to heaven in a featherbed.”

Tuesday, September 2, 2008



Some good men and women
From Left: African lobbyists James and Susan Fox
with Guimette, Andre and the UN delegate from Rwanda

by Susan Fox

NEW YORK, March 2000 --- Evil is cast into confusion when good men and women take a firm stand.

That's what happened when a valiant group of pro-life Catholics, Mormons, Evangelicals and Muslims, fighting alongside the Holy See, stopped the United Nations from declaring abortion an international human right in March, 2000.

My son, James, age 12, and I were privileged to be asked by the Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute to lobby with 330 other people from all over the world March 6-17, 2000, during the preparatory meetings for the special session of the General Assembly entitled "Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century," which were held later in 2000.

Little of what we saw at the UN had anything to do with development and peace. A lot of it had to do with a small group of well-financed Western radical feminists trying to force their agenda for population control down the throats of the developing nations. These were - pure and simple - white people trying to get black people to kill their children. One woman from Holland who now lives in Zimbabwe told me how -- after a war, which decimated the population of an African nation -- the Western nations came in with free "family planning" services: condoms, birth control devices, abortion, all neatly packaged in local storefronts, sporting big blue and white signs, which read, "Population Control."

Using English hard to understand even for native speakers and the intimidation of big money, the governments of the United States, Canada, the European Union, Australia and New Zealand (JUSCANZ) were working to get abortion declared a human right and gay marriages recognized. If they cannot get a consensus to declare abortion a human right, then they want "forced pregnancy" declared an international crime. This does not mean rape. It means any country failing to legalize abortion could be found guilty of human rights abuses against women.

My task was to lobby the French-speaking African nations. These people had a very unpleasant experience of our American culture in the past because they have largely met these aging feminists, and their deadly ideas. One African woman told me she had been taught to respect older people, and so when she met an elderly American woman she had expected great wisdom, but instead she was insulted and told her country was backward because it wouldn't legalize abortion. She was shocked.

The African countries - by and large - are very pro-life and pro-family in stark contrast to the Western governments. We often think of Africa as a place where uncivilized people live. But upon reflection I found that the barbarians are from the West. They dress nicely. They drive fuel-efficient cars, and they live in clean houses. But their wholesale willingness to murder their own children, to spread AIDS through sexual promiscuity and to execute their parents when they are ill or no longer of use to society makes them barbarians. In contrast, the Africans came from large and loving families, and would never dream of taking the life of their mother just because she was sick, or the life of their child because he might be born retarded. They were civilized.

I had extensive conversations with women during my two weeks at the UN about these issues. At a caucus on women's health, I enthusiastically endorsed language to include "chastity education" as a means of stopping the spread of AIDS. But I was told hysterically by the other non-governmental observers (NGOs) that women didn't voluntarily have sex, and they needed to protect themselves with condoms. I -- still believing that women had some autonomy in the world -- asked if the largely pro-abortion crowd assembled at that caucus would have sex if they knew they had AIDS. I naively believed that no one would want to spread the disease to someone they loved, and we all agreed that condoms did not work 100 percent. But I found out instead that this group wanted to have the right to have sex when they had AIDs. One woman stood up, burst into tears and said she had AIDS. She said chastity hadn't worked for her because she had been married 22 years to the same man and still got AIDS (presumably from her husband). And now she needed the "comfort" of a human relationship. Then she proceeded to explain with great care how to use the condom, spermicide, etc. to reduce the risk of spreading AIDS. After that outburst, no one would listen to the words, "chastity education." These women were -- sadly -- completely irrational.

My position during the two weeks was pretty simple. My mother had almost been euthanized by an overzealous and over-compassionate doctor, who prescribed so much pain medication that she almost died from it. He also prescribed drugs that would make her "happy," but were not necessary to cure her illness or her pain. By the time she had her leg amputated last year, narcotics no longer worked as their effectiveness wears off the more the drug is taken. My mother did not have and still does not have a terminal disease.

The worst part of this story is that my closest family sided with the doctor, and felt I was hurting my mother by advocating less pain medication. As it turned out, instead of treating the underlying cause of my mother's pain and high blood pressure, the doctor used pain meds to cover up his lack of medical care. His focus on so-called compassionate care ("You can have all the pain medicine you want!" he said) made him forget to heal the underlying illness. Other doctors later eliminated the pain in the second foot and reduced the blood pressure by proper treatment without pain medication.

In addition, I had a cousin who had almost been aborted because tests during pregnancy showed he might be retarded. (Luckily another test showed he wasn't, and so he is alive today). The Nazis during World War II bundled up retarded children like a sack of potatoes and marched them off to the gas chambers.

Another cousin, who is a nurse in a retirement home, is angry because the doctors won't starve or dehydrate the old people under her care as a means of easing their pain. I have another cousin, whose wife doesn't want any more children with him, but is willing to carry her sister's baby to term as a surrogate mother. I love my family, but I blamed all of their crazy thinking on 30 years of legal abortion in the United States, which has made our people insensitive to the value of life.

One African Catholic, who wanted abortion legalized in her country because she feared the suffering of women seeking back alley abortions, was told what happened to my mother. She said if someone tried to kill her mother with drugs, her whole large family -- cousins, brothers, sisters and uncles -- would rise up and fight. I told her that after 30 years of legal abortion they would be just like my family -- they'd be the first to say give her more pain medication, saying, "Better she die than suffer." She was shocked. At her request, I am sending her a copy of Pope John Paul II's encyclical, "The Gospel of Life."

Another Catholic from a Latin American country proclaimed that she was against abortion, but feared to take a public stand both because of the position of her government and because the Catholic Church in her country did not clearly state that abortion was evil, nor did it stand up against marrying homosexuals. I gave her a copy of the "The Gospel of Life," and promised to send her other encyclicals so she could know what the Catholic Church truly teaches. From this, I learned that we must be very clear in telling people the truth of what the Catholic Church teaches. We cannot hide the light of this Truth under a basket, fearing to offend people.

Our witness as mother and son was quite powerful in this environment because I was a newspaperwoman who gave up my career to care for my son in 1991. We were the only homeschooling pair there lobbying the United Nations. Homeschooling made this trip possible for the both of us because most children cannot take two weeks off of school in March, and most of their mothers must be at home to care for them. Even some of the pro-abortion NGOs were very impressed by this fact. It was the first time they had heard of homeschooling.

Our power lay in the fact that we were not paid (we were volunteers) and our trip was financed by ordinary people like ourselves from America! The pro-abortion NGOs were paid and they stayed at the best hotels at the expense of some very well-financed abortion organizations. One delegate, whom I befriended from the Sudan, kept asking me who I worked for. When I explained that I didn't work, but taught my son in the home (the feminists called motherhood "unremunerated work"), she threw back her head and laughed with joy. "Why you are nobody! You have great power." She was a devout Muslim.

My 12-year-old son chose to wear a suit and tie everyday to the UN, and he looked like a million dollars. I was speaking to the Ambassador from Burundi telling him about the homeschooling, our family life, and the damage that 30 years of legal abortion had done to my family. He had six children. At the end of the conversation, James walked up, and the Ambassador -- visibly impressed by his appearance -- said with pride, "Why is this -- your son?"

Another time we were lobbying against homosexual marriages, and I told an African woman this story of my job with the San Francisco Examiner. I said there were many gay men who worked there who were dying of AIDS. Many were my friends. But one day, one of them was in the elevator with a vial of ashes showing it to another woman. I exclaimed, "Why, is that a human being?" And the boy responded proudly, "Yes, this is my lover, and I carry him with me everywhere."

I explained to the African woman that the fruit of the boy's relationship with that man was ashes, but James was the fruit of my relationship with my husband. And James obligingly grinned and asked her if she wouldn't rather have him than ashes. She was rolling on the floor with laughter.

The feminists harassed James a little by questioning him. This gave him no end of joy. He told me later, that being at the United Nations and witnessing for the unborn was probably the "best thing I've ever done in my life." He was the youngest NGO there -- only 12 years old.

I often had to apologize for my government to the African delegates and others I chanced to meet. While I was there, the Clinton Administration sponsored a press conference for Catholics for a Free Choice (a non-Catholic pro-abortion group). They argued that the Holy Father, who has held a seat on the United Nations since 1964 as a permanent observer, should no longer hold this status. As a permanent observer, the Holy Father is sometimes the only voice against abortion language in the documents simply because the Third World delegates do not recognize subtle pro-abortion language in English, or they are being intimidated by the Western Nations. I myself witnessed the Holy Father's delegation oppose language that would have guaranteed international abortion, and it was the only delegation in opposition. The UN cannot do anything without a complete consensus, so one objection puts the offending language in brackets, and that means it is not part of the approved document. Subsequently, the National Conference of Catholic Bishops reminded the world that Catholics For a Free Choice is not a Catholic group. Hurray for the American bishops!

Our goal during those two weeks in March: stop the feminists from putting pro-abortion language in the document. We succeeded. However, the governments of the developed nations also succeeded in preventing the Third World nations and the Holy Father from putting pro-family language in the document as well. It was a stand-off.

However, our presence in great force also had another side benefit: it rattled the other side. During the second week, 30 brothers and priests from Fr. Benedict Groeschel's Grey Friars showed up in full grey habit and beards. Meeting and seeing these holy men was very encouraging for our side. We all had been disturbed during the previous week when we had the duty of interacting at the caucuses with the pro-abortion women.

But the brothers’ presence did not console the other side. It disturbed the pro-abortion NGOs, who said that allowing men in Catholic habits into the United Nations should not be allowed because it was an "excessive show of religion." The brothers' presence actually made them feel they were being stalked, followed home, and their phones tapped.

Perhaps their feelings could best be understood from the point of view of St. Ignatius of Loyola. He stated that as a soul is growing closer to God, the action of the evil spirit disturbs it, but the good spirit consoles it. On the other hand, as a person draws away from God, the action of the evil spirit consoles it, and the good spirit disturbs it. This action is manifested through ordinary circumstances like our pro-life presence at the UN.

These pro-abortion lobbyists were God's children too! And He was lovingly calling them back to Himself through the witness of the holy brothers obediently wearing their habits. And that meant they would be disturbed in the process. It was God saying, "Wake up! You are almost dead, but not yet. Come back to Me." Not only the brothers, but all 330 people there, including James and myself, managed to disturb these ladies because God was using us, too.

One of my fellow French lobbyists, a lovely young girl, was simply handing a lobbying document to a delegate and one of the pro-abortion NGOs walked up to her ripped the document out of her hand and tore it up in front of her. This NGO was very disturbed by my friend. Or was it really my friend that disturbed her? Perhaps it was only God, Our Father, who wanted the NGO back with Himself and was calling to her. That's why the Gospel of Matthew tells us that the persecuted are blessed! "Rejoice!" is to be our response to this kind of hatred. And if we love our fellow man, we do have to rejoice in their disturbance at good things.

The examples of this kind of movement of God were numerous. I concluded that goodness simply needs to take a firm stand. It does not have to scream or shout or have a temper tantrum. Simply stand firm, humbly in the Truth, and watch the other side scramble.

The outcome of this, however, is that the pro-abortion forces have moved to prevent us from returning in force again. There are a lot of pro-abortion groups accredited to the United Nations as NGOs, but there are very few pro-life groups accredited. So when we went in we were accredited by this handful of organizations. (The funny side of this story is that the Grey friars were accredited by a pro-life group called Real Women of Canada, a fact which outraged the other side when they found out. They said these men had no right to represent women! But the pro-abortion side, including men, was running around with buttons that read "F.A.K.E. WOMEN.")

Now they have closed the barn door behind us by limiting the number of people who can be accredited from each group to three. The Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, which organized our training and our witness there, has concluded that they can do nothing to stop this as they are outgunned financially. People like Ted Turner are donating billions of dollars to population programs, abortion, etc.

Never doubt we are locked in a battle involving principalities and spirits. When we were first there the pro-abortion NGOs had their youth do a "Right to Chose" dance which was very pagan, using some of the gestures and sounds of witchcraft rituals. But later in the week, the Holy Father sent in a priest, who quietly performed an exorcism for us in the gallery when no one was around. We gathered around the priest: Catholics, Mormons, Evangelicals and Muslims. It was one of the little helps that God sent us to console us when we were being disturbed by the thinking of the other side.

Our youth caucus proved to be very successful. Accredited through the World Youth Alliance, they were about 30 young people, age 15 to 30, from all over the world. They forced the pro-abortion youth to develop a consensus in the youth caucus -- it yielded a document that would only represent things concerning women that both sides could agree on.

After dealing with the World Youth Alliance, one of the pro-abortion youth said all of her hope had been taken away because these (pro-life) youth represented the future leaders of the world, and "they don't agree with us." We all said, "Aww, too bad."